A computer hacker who is directly responsible for the arrest and prosecution of Chelsea Manning has been found dead in Kansas, despite being only 37 years old.
According to The Wichita Eagle, Adrian Lamo was found dead in a Kansas apartment on Wednesday. He is the former friend of Bradley Manning who turned the Army soldier in to authorities after Manning confided that he had stolen hundreds of classified military documents.
Manning, of course, released the documents to Wikileaks before being found guilty of espionage and serving time in a military prison. Former President Barack Obama commuted his sentence last year, and Manning underwent a gender transition and changed his name to Chelsea.
“There’s nothing suspicious about his death,” Wichita police officer Charley Davidson insisted about Lamo. Despite the young age of the deceased hacker, officials dismissed questions about foul play, but would not elaborate on the cause of death.
The Regional Forensic Science Center is still withholding details about the death, and is possibly waiting for toxicology tests to be finished, The Wichita Eagle reported.
Adrian Lamo was highly skilled was computers, according to people who knew him.
“He was charming and brilliant,” explained Lorraine Murphy, a friend and colleague of the late hacker. “If he hadn’t been, Manning never would have told him anything.”
The same contact told The Eagle that the computer hacker had earned both fans and enemies with his hacking and had even received death threats.
“Lamo was convicted of computer fraud after he was arrested in 2004 for hacking The New York Times and Microsoft,” the Kansas newspaper reported.
The man’s brilliance with a computer did not provide him with much stability in life. He reportedly moved around the country frequently, and often stayed with friends while between locations.
“Adrian was always homeless or on the verge of it,” Lorraine Murphy said about Lamo. “He bounced around a great deal, for no particular reason.”
“He was a believer in the Geographic Cure. Whatever goes wrong in your life, moving will make it better. And he knew people all over the country,” she continued.
In early 2010, Manning contacted Adrian Lamo via instant messenger and began discussing his position in the Army and the crimes that he would later be convicted of committing.
“If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?” Manning asked Lamo in one early conversation, according to a transcript from Wired Magazine.
Later in 2010, Adrian Lamo reported Bradley Manning to Army criminal investigators. Despite Lamo’s own past on the wrong side of the law, he clearly believed that stopping Manning was the right thing to do.
“I wouldn’t have done this if lives weren’t in danger,” Lamo stated to Wired shortly after Manning’s arrest. “He (Manning) was in a war zone and basically trying to vacuum up as much classified information as he could, and just throwing it up into the air.”
Now Manning is free and the man who turned him in is dead. Officials may insist that there’s nothing more to the story, but there will no doubt be many questions in the next days and months.
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